All-Star Game Observations

Gotta love Jim Leyland using J.J. Putz to close out the game and then having him allow three straight base runners for the first time all season. Who is up next for Leyland’s Tigers? You guessed it, the Seattle Mariners.

Was there anyone better than Ichiro to hit the first inside-the-park home run? Okay, maybe Jose Reyes, but I think EVERYONE can agree that their next choice would have been Ichiro. Not only was it the first inside-the-park home run in All-Star game history, it was Ichiro’s first ever as well. Couple that with the report that Ichiro has agreed to a 5-year, $100 million contract extension and you can call that a pretty good day.

Ken Griffey throwing out A-Rod by 15 feet was fantastic, the play wasn’t even close. The guy has spent his entire career in center field, moves over to right this year and seems to play it just as well. He looks like a kid again…check that, he looks like the kid again.

Alfonso Soriano became the second player in MLB history to hit a home run for each league in the All-Star game, joining Frank Robinson. I wish the Yankees could find a way to get him back.

Albert Pujols not playing at all was quite interesting. Tony LaRussa said it was in case they went into extra innings, but Pujols wasn’t buying it. Unfortunately, Pujols had to be a classic stuck up pampered athlete by saying “If I wasn’t expecting to play, I wouldn’t have come up here.” Really nice. Pujols needs to remember that the only way he keeps getting paid is if he keeps some fans cheering for him and lately he has not been doing that. He went from a star kid to a full-of-himself athlete very quickly. Tony LaRussa tried to explain that he needed Pujols just in case the game went into extra innings, but I don’t know how you leave arguable the most dangerous hitter in baseball on the bench with the bases loaded and down one run with two outs in the bottom of the ninth.

Barry Bonds almost hitting a home run to the opposite field was great to watch. You could tell that he really wanted it to go, especially in front of the home crowd. I think no matter how Bonds is portrayed or seems to appear standoffish, in the end he loves the game of baseball and appreciates what that moment would have meant.

From Jayson Stark: Derek Jeter was playing in his eighth All-Star Game, and hadn’t played on the losing team in any of the other seven (6-0-1). The only players who ever played in eight of these games without a loss, according to Elias, are Steve Garvey (10-0), Joe Morgan (9-0) and Tom Seaver (8-0).

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